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Cash for miraa is safe, Meru court told

The Commodities Fund is yet to finalise modalities on how the Sh180 million revolving fund will be channeled to miraa farmers.

Appearing at a hearing in which a traders lobby has sued the government over the disbursement of the kitty, the Fund's Managing Trustee Nancy Cheruyoit told Meru High Court Judge Francis Gikonyo that the money had been transferred to its accounts at the tail end of the 2019/20 financial year.

Cheruyoit told the court that none of its officers have been threatened, harassed or ordered to transfer the amount to a private entity, and that the law and formal public and stakeholder consultation will guide disbursement.

The Fund was responding to a suit filed by three officials of the Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) claiming that Ministry of Co-operatives officers were using public funds to help Mwenge Sacco recruit members in breach of public officers ethics and code of conduct.

The three want the government technocrats stopped from disbursing the miraa revolving fund through the Mwenge Sacco, claiming it is a briefcase entity.

"We are apprehensive that public funds meant for a well-structured scheme may be lost if put in an unknown private entity picked without public participation," claimed the applicants, Kimathi Munjuri, Jacob Miriti and Naftali Kathurima through their lawyer Lucas Kobia.

They named the Head of Public Service and Chief of Staff, Cabinet secretaries for Finance and Agriculture and the Attorney General as respondents.

They also claimed the respondents were in breach of court orders issued in 2017 providing for the lobby and Meru County government's participation in projects involving the miraa sector.

Justice Gikonyo has ordered that the matter be mentioned on November 5 to confirm compliance with a consent signed between the parties in 2017.

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